Cape Town - A well-dressed couple claiming to be from Dubai have allegedly stolen more than R100 000 in jewellery from a high-end jeweller in Knysna by distracting the shop assistants while two children made off with the goods.
Since the incident about a week ago, other reports of a family using similar tactics have started to surface.
Ashley Boetius, at Allsound Security, said the company received a report that a man, a woman wearing a blonde wig, and two young girls entered the jewellery store and the couple started looking at jewellery.
“The couple managed to distract the shop assistant and pocket an expensive item of jewellery before leaving the shop,” Boetius said.
Staff said on Wednesday that the man and the woman, who they assumed were a couple, entered the shop while the two children remained outside.
“They said they were from Dubai and wanted to buy loose diamonds, but I told them we didn’t sell that and they then started randomly looking at other pieces,” one shop assistant said.
Although the parents, both smartly dressed, spoke English to her, they spoke to the children in a foreign language.
“They then went outside, spoke to the children in a foreign language and the whole family then entered again.”
While the parents were distracting her, the children distracted the second shop assistant.
“The children were between seven and eight years old and had long hair,” the assistant said.
“While the younger of the two did the distracting, the eldest took one of our pieces.”
This is confirmed by CCTV footage.
Knysna police spokesman Constable Chris Spies said the piece stolen was a white gold ring set with 5.19 carats of tanzanite and worth R129 000.
Boetius said when the staff realised the item was missing they asked around if anyone had seen the group. It turned out they had left the parking lot in an old car that had a back number plate with a GP registration, but no front number plate.
“Since posting this on our Facebook page, we have received information that these people have also recently been involved in conning shop assistants with elaborate hoaxes to open their tills. The assistants later discover money is missing.”
Although Spies could not confirm reports of conmen with a similar modus operandi, staff at the town’s Fruit & Veg store said there had been such an incident at their tills.
Spies said no arrests had been made, but that the investigation continued.
Garden Route Media